First-year architecture students present final projects

April 26th, 2013 Comments Off on First-year architecture students present final projects

First-year architecture students presented their final projects on Monday, April 22 in Giles Hall in Starkville. Professors were Jake Gines and Andrew Tripp, and Finas Townsend served as the studio assistant.

Except for the final two weeks, the second semester of first-year studio has been dedicated to the notion that architecture is the representation of design.

The first two learning modules of this semester addressed composition and color, which are continuations of topics introduced but not completed in the first semester. The third learning module was a return to collage, where students were directed to invent and imagine their own sites. These sites became the basis for the fourth and final module, where students were asked to respond to two kinds of givens: the spatial conditions of their site and the basic elements of a program. Here is a brief description of the semester’s work:

In the composition exercise students were asked to create a matrix of images that demonstrated the various compositions of visual objects (directions, patterns, positions, shapes, sizes) and predicates (balancing, compressing, contrasting, graduating, repeating). They searched for these object-to-predicate relationships with their camera around town, in their previous work and in the creation of new iterative of drawings.

In the color exercise students became practiced in the systematic rationale of color space (hue, saturation and lightness) through a series of pastel drawings where they were encouraged to demonstrate the compositional techniques they had just learned. These drawings were contrasted by a series of exercises focused on the non-systematic perception of color depth, which resulted in colored relief models intended to emphasize the apparent depth of certain locations of color.

In this exercise students were challenged to invent their own sites (urban landscapes) through a process of collaging satellite images of existing city fabrics and infrastructures. Students were asked to consider ideas of complexity, heterarchy, and abstraction and then interpret these into drawings and three-dimensional models, which were then molded in plaster.

GIVENS: Part 01
Spatial Conditions: Students were asked to discover and document several microsites in their model that demonstrated an identifiable composition. Then, using paper and metal wire (skin and bones), they emphasized these compositions through simple constructions and excavations of the plaster. Students were challenged to be responsible for developing an iterative process of making, documenting, judging and remaking.

GIVENS: Part 02
Proportioning Programming: This final exercise only lasted two weeks but is very significant because it is intended to contrast our discussion of composition and to explore some elementary ideas of space planning. Students literally rolled the dice to determine the proportions of useful qualities (light/dark, wet/dry, level/not-level, fast/slow, and rough/smooth). They were asked to find or plan for the proportion of these qualities in their model. The boundary and scale of their proposal was up to them to determine.

The students were required to present their refined model, which can be at any scale that they determine. This presentation also includes at least three final drawings (at a scale of 1⁄2“ = 1’-0”): one plan (horizontal section) and two vertical sections (or bent sections) and a series of documentary photographs. These drawings and photographs constitute the required standard material, but students are also required to create a full compliment of representations that show a complete understanding of the space and programmatic elements. Finally, students have been asked to imagine their proposals as a meeting place for at least two people, and, given the spaces
and qualities of those spaces, the students have been asked to imagine and write a narrative or fiction that this proposal could plausibly support. Rather than dwell on design processes, the students are expected to raise questions of space, givenness and the transition from composition to space-planning in a foundations studio.

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